Radishes are an oft-forgotten compliment to the kitchen and, unfortunately, in sous vide as well.
The radish is surprisingly delicate despite its crisp white interior. When cooked it tends to absorb the colour of whatever you cook it with which can lead to dirtying that impeccable skin. Radishes tend to be served fresh in salads with a mild vinaigrette or house dressing.
However, sous vide offers a fun opportunity to turn the humble radish into more than just a salad accouterment. Pickling radishes is a time-honored tradition in many cultures around the world.
Typically, this is done by letting the radish soak in boiling vinegar of your choice for around an hour. You can quick pickle red onion in the same way. To get the pickle train progressing get your usual sous vide tools ready (thermometer, vacuum sealer, vacuum sealable bags, pots pans, water – for more on the basics of sous vide check out our most recent guide).
As for the radishes themselves there’s plenty of room to experiment here. A basic sous vide pickling process would look like this:
- 1 bunch of radishes, washed and separated from their stems
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, or enough to fully cover the radishes
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- Ten whole black peppercorns if desired
- 6-12 mustard seeds if desired and adjusted depending on your preference
Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt in the. Cut your radishes into rounds or half moons at your preferred thickness and add to your pickling mizture. This is the base for pickled radishes, but there’s still a lot of room for your creativity to shine through.
Adding mustard seeds and full peppercorns will add some heat to your radishes. Trying out a dash of the Japanese vinegar mirin meanwhile will sweeten it up a little. Feel free to experiment with some of your favorite spices and herbs, just remember that staining the radish’s white skin is a real possibility with things like turmeric or cumin.
The low and slow approach is the best one to take with this quasi pickling process. Make sure your water is boiling at 180°F (82°C) and set your timer for 20 minutes.
When cooking is done, remove the bag and carefully drain the liquid. You should now have some lightly pickled radishes. They can also be served in salads or the like, but if you’re in a rush snacking is especially sumptuous.